With the series that I have called “Logisch Denken,” I’ve tried to show that faith in God is reasonable. (Stated negatively, I’ve tried to show that faith in God is not unreasonable.) The common assumption among skeptics, and even among a certain number of evangelicals, is that “faith” and “reason” are not in any way compatible. Thus, what I have tried to show (and will conclude with this post) is that this is not the case—faith is not unreasonable, both reason and faith are compatible.
I talked about causation in the last post. Here I want to examine one more aspect of how the universe came to exist. We determined previously that the universe—i.e., the the space-time universe—must have had a cause. We recall that to say otherwise would commit oneself to an infinite regress of sorts, and all things considered, this is not logically satisfying (at least in light of the alternative). We concluded that the theist’s idea that the universe was created by God is not, at least up until our last post, shown to be in the slightest bit irrational, for theist’s believe there was a cause for the universe to come into existence; they simply call this cause “God.” Since it is not unreasonable to believe in causation, the belief in God as the Cause, then, is compatible with reason.
Of course, just because the universe had a cause does not necessarily lead one to conclude theism, at least not initially. It could, after all, have been the case that the universe caused itself to come into existence. How does this idea stand in the face of logical scrutiny? There are, perhaps, several things that could be said here, but let’s look at just one area of critique below regarding the idea of self-causation.
If the universe was caused, it was either caused by itself or caused by an outside agent/force. If it was caused by itself, then the universe would be both its own effect and its own cause. But this means, it seems, that the universe would had to have existed before it existed in order to have caused itself to come into existence. But this is absurd, for how could something exist before it existed? That violates a fundamental law of logic, namely, the law of non-contradiction. Therefore, the universe’s cause for its existence, by definition, must have come from something outside of the space-time universe. Logic lends to this idea. So does theism, which also states that the universe’s cause remains outside the space-time universe, namely a cause described as “God.” Theism is therefore seen to be both reasonable and unscathed.
Technically, I’m not trying to prove God’s existence with this argument. What I am trying to do here is somewhat less ambitious. My point is to simply show how belief in God, theism, is not unreasonable. After all, belief in causation is not absurd. Moreover, the attributes of God, as depicted in the tenets of classical theism, seem to be compatible with what logic demands of the universe’s cause—namely, a cause that is non-material, all-powerful, and timeless (not to mention all-knowing). This, again, is what theists call “God.”
Therefore, belief in God, while it may be a matter of faith, is still seen to be a matter of reason, for I have shown through a set of propositions that theism can be construed logically. In the end, however, I realize that the arguments that have been presented in these posts may not convince the atheist/agnostic that theism is true, and that’s quite okay. But out of all the things the atheist/agnostic will say by way of response, one of those things cannot be that belief in God is illogical or unreasonable. It turns out that theism is quite reasonable.
_______ William Lane Craig brings this point up often.